The Evolution of Loaves & Fishes - Soup Kitchen 2.0
Just ask Darwin… It’s not the strongest, fastest, biggest that thrives, it’s those who have the ability to adapt. Loaves & Fishes has been around for 36 years, and for 34 of those years we have been a traditional mom and pop soup kitchen doing what we can where we can. In the past two years we reinvented ourselves to meet the ever changing needs of the Bay Area community. We started out with gradual changes just to try out the new ideas but moved faster once we saw cost effectiveness, quick successes and larger impact.
“We are a caterer on steroids” says AnnMarie Zimmermann,
Executive Director. “Of course we still serve our own meals at
multiple locations. We will always want that high touch and
close connection with our guests. The staff and volunteers love
preparing, serving, interacting and developing relationships with each one of them.”
The board had a strategic plan to help more people and the staff said they had the capacity to do more. Call it serendipity (or the miracle of Loaves & Fishes) but about a year and a half ago Loaves & Fishes was approached by Community Development Partners who made Loaves & Fishes a wonderful offer. CDP would give us 24/7 access to a brand new industrial kitchen rent free in exchange for preparing meals for their low income residents. “I couldn’t believe it.” AnnMarie said. “It was exactly what we needed, when we needed it”. This access to such a wonderful kitchen allowed us to dramatically increase our meal production.
With the help of the centralized kitchen and the Hot/Cold Delivery Truck sponsored by Second Harvest Food Bank
and the Richard and Lynette DiNapoli family, Loaves & Fishes went from cooking a couple of hundred meals a day for only those guests who could reach us to thousands of meals per day delivered like a caterer to locations and nonprofit
partners throughout the Bay Area. This makes it much easier for our guests. We bring the food to them where they are getting other support services from our nonprofit partners rather than having to find their way to us.
It’s been a win/win relationship with Community Development Partners. We help them serve the needs of their residents and they have been extremely supportive to us. AnnMarie said, “I got a call from CDP management in January and was floored when they said they were going to give us a generous donation check on top of everything else.” Eric Paine, CEO of CDP said, “We are very happy with the relationship between CDP and Loaves & Fishes. We want to play a role in supporting their efforts to help the community. Our desire is for a long
lasting, successful partnership.”
In keeping with the theme of innovation in Silicon Valley,
Loaves & Fishes has evolved into “Soup Kitchen 2.0” allowing us to serve over 30,000 meals each month and we are on track to serve over 350,000 meals this year. Up 109% from 2015 and still growing.
Thanks to all of our continued supporters for making this happen.
With success comes the requests for more meals. As word of our new model gets out, we are approached weekly by
other nonprofits to provide their clients healthy prepared meals. We want to help our community. Please continue
to give financially so that we can scale our operations to provide even more people healthy prepared meals. We
have the capacity thanks to CDP and the food thanks to Second Harvest Food Bank. We need the ongoing financial
support for fuel, truck maintenance, kitchen supplies, etc. Please continue to give so we can continue to say yes to